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Jing Wang, “Walking Around Obstacles: Nonconfrontational Activists in Gray China”

Thursday, October 1, 2020 @ 5:00 pm 6:30 pm

[Streamed live at https://mit.zoom.us/j/94087151099.]

Is there digital activism in China? What is it like to be an activist running a grassroots NGO in a land of censors? Is the state-public relationship in China antagonistic by default as our mainstream media would like us to believe? Are citizens of illiberal societies brainwashed or complicit, either imprisoned for speaking out or paralyzed by fear? This talk challenges some of the binary assumptions we made about activism and China by bringing our attention to the gray zones in China where nonconfrontational activists are building an invisible and quiet coalition to bring incremental progress to their society. Wang will talk about NGO2.0, a grassroots organization she founded in China, provide examples of nonconfrontational activism staged on Weibo and WeChat, and introduce Future Village, a design4good project that calls for multi-sectoral collaboration that NGO2.0 is building.

Jing Wang is the founder and director of MIT New Media Action Lab and serves as the Chair of the International Advisory Board for Creative Commons China. She is also the founder and secretary-general of NGO2.0, a grassroots nonprofit organization based in Beijing and Shenzhen. Her current research interests include entertainment media in China and the US, advertising and marketing, civic media and communication, social media action research, and nonprofit technology.